International Business Festival 2018




Ian Hughes
21 September 2017

We love new media. Facebook. Instagram. Snapchat. It's all good. In an age clearly defined as digital, pretty pictures and punchy words perform well across all platforms.

But when you're marketing an international, 9-day business Festival like ours, to a world of driven and demanding SMEs, you need something much more substantial than a splattering of 140 character tweets.

If you want to connect with serious-minded business people you need a well-written and well-informed publication that knows what it's talking about.

With this in mind, International Business Festival 2018 has developed a new newspaper entitled ‘The Business Tribune'. The publication's 32 pages are squarely aimed at ambitious business people who are looking to grow their business. In short, it's a lively read for people searching for more substance than snappy words and short sentences.

I caught-up with my colleague, editor (and thoroughly nice chap) former BBC journalist Andy McFarlane to get the scoop on the UK's latest business newspaper.


Andy McFarlane, Editor, The Business Tribune


So Andy, tell us all about The Business Tribune.

"It's a new publication and website that takes an in-depth look at the world of business today.

"The paper delivers news, opinions, and insights from people in the know and reports on the work of really interesting and inspirational British SMEs who are quietly going about doing remarkable business.

"Really, the paper's all about thought-leadership and practical advice, so it's great for businesses who are looking to move to the next level and it's been developed to help our Festival connect with a broader range of businesses."

How did The Business Tribune come about?

"Back in 2014, Andrew Beattie and Fiona Shaw, from Liverpool publisher Wordscapes, saw the inaugural International Business Festival as the ideal opportunity to create a business focussed newspaper, originally called ‘The City Tribune'.  It was a fantastic publication that showcased the business and culture of Liverpool.

"So when we were looking for a new vehicle to carry feature articles aimed at Festival-goers, we thought reviving the Tribune was a perfect fit."

And it brings another dimension to our offer.

"That's right. Print can present a totally different way to inspire businesses. You can catch people's attention with something, rather than relying on organic searches to reach an audience. The idea of presenting people with something completely off their radar and then drawing them in appealed to us.

"We hope that Wordscapes' eye-catching design encourages people to pick up the paper, find something to interest or surprise them, that they might not otherwise have come across, something that they can they can hopefully use towards advancing their own business."

Now, we've been working together for about four months and you're one of the busiest guys in our team. How would you describe your role?

"First and foremost, I'm the editor, so I decide on the direction the newspaper takes and on the content, but I also write many of the features and articles myself.

"I'm also overseeing the digital side of things and working on The Business Tribune website ( which will help our content reach more people online."

How has the process been so far?

"The process has been really rewarding. Launching a new publication and website over a fairly short, 14-week period has been challenging, with a lot of late nights and long meetings but I've always enjoyed establishing something new and seeing that work come to fruition.

"Wordscapes have been amazing partners throughout the process, they have such a talented team, so working with them has been fantastic."



I received an advance copy yesterday and I really enjoyed it. It's nice to have some proper print in your hands.

"Yes, It's the type of thing people would pick up and hopefully keep hold of for a bit, and go back to two or three times. It's a more leisurely read than mobile and a printed format helps people get a bit more immersed in the subject, I think. At least that's what we hope.

There's plenty of stand-out features. What articles are creating the most buzz?

"Real business success stories always go down well with readers. For our first edition, I talked to British food and drink suppliers about their ambitions for export. You can write all the exporting guides you want, but reading about people's real experience resonates much more strongly when it relates to a real, genuine business experiences.

"Topical features stand out because they tend to deal with matters are hugely important to businesses.  In this editions, we have a comment piece on Brexit from Martin McTague [policy director at FSB] that falls into this category.

"Business support features are also popular as the landscape of this tends to shift with some consistency and businesses don't have a lot of time to keep up with these changes. So, this month we investigated the best support networks for women in business today.

"Other things, like our market focus on Shanghai, or our feature on the ways new technology is changing our cities, or our cover story exploration of the business potential of the Commonwealth have a broad appeal.

"They're such fascinating topics in and of themselves but they also present significant opportunities for businesses all over the world. So, they're not only interesting for us to focus on, they're hopefully useful too."

With such a broad spectrum of features, how do you go about distilling your ‘Business Tribune' elevator pitch?

"For me, the overarching ambition of The Business Tribune is to spur businesses on, to help them achieve their goals and become the businesses that they dream of.

"That's why this publication is such a good fit for The International Business Festival 2018, both their ambitions go hand in hand and they both are designed to help businesses grow, through inspiration, innovation, and insights.

Lastly, how can people get their hands on a copy?

"We're targeting distribution towards growing SME's across the country and at other international business events.

"But if you sign-up on the website, people will get digital Business Tribune features through the International Business Festival newsletter. If people want to get a hard copy they can email me on [email protected] and I'll pop one in the post."

See what I mean, thoroughly decent chap. Visit for more and expect more great business news and features from The Business Tribune included in the regular International Business Festival 2018 newsletter.

For more on Wordscapes visit their website. 


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